ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Thirty-seven teens from the APG community learned about financial management by visiting "Mad City Money," a youth activity at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center July 25.

The event was sponsored by Army Community Service Readiness program and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union.

During the activity, teens were transported into the future where they had just graduated from college or technical school and were starting their first full-time, professional jobs.

They were given scenarios in which they had a career, paycheck, family, and lifestyle and were instructed to visit different merchants to buy houses, cars, food, clothes, day care, and other necessities.

The students were also asked to build a budget based on their income and debt.

Teens were taught how to write checks and record debit card purchases from APGFCU Financial Literacy Educator Sonya Pietrogiacomo.

Nancy Hill from APGFCU said that Mad City Money allows participants to make mistakes and suffer the consequences of their decisions in a realistic, but safe, environment.

"This activity gives teens the financial foundation they need before they leave mom and dad," Hill said. "This is information that isn't taught in school."

Laura Williams, a software engineering Center employee, who volunteered during the event, said that she thought the activity was worthwhile for her son, Keilan Pringle, 16.

"Teens are used to mom and dad taking care of them," Williams said. "This activity shows them that life isn't always easy. Teens need to learn how to budget and how to plan for emergencies before they go out on their own."

Zaya Davis, 17, said the activity gave her a glimpse of the "real world."

"It really opened my eyes to how much everything costs and how easy it is to get into debt," Davis said.

"This activity gives us a basic idea of what life is going to be like after high school and college," added David Yip, 16.

For information about upcoming classes, call ACS Employment Readiness Program Manager Marilyn Howard, 410-278-9669/7572.